This question, Difference between "fluid" and "liquid", was closed as an exact duplicate. This one, "In time" or "On time"?, was merged. Why is this? Both questions had two answers with no down votes. In both cases, the first question (the one not closed) also already had an accepted answer. If these two factors obviously played no part in it, why did the moderator (both were closed or merged by RegDwight АΑA♦) choose differently on the two?

  • Reason for closing because of duplicates was because they were like you said, "exact duplicates". Merging happens when there is two similar questions but they're subtly different. Aug 1, 2012 at 22:34
  • @SonicTheHedgehog Not quite. Any duplicate question could be merged, even exact duplicates.
    – user10893
    Aug 2, 2012 at 0:44
  • @sim Ahh... I see. And Reg here explains why. Thanks. Aug 2, 2012 at 0:45

1 Answer 1


Any question closed as a duplicate of another is a potential merge candidate.

However, while a closed question can still be reopened (for whatever reason), a merge is irreversible. Consequently, I will usually give people time to dispute the decision — especially if I closed the dupe unilaterally, as was the case with the fluid vs. liquid question. This, in turn, can mean that I forget all about it — especially if people actually don't dispute the decision, as was the case with the fluid vs. liquid question.

Now that it's been closed for five months, and seeing how both answers work fine on the older question, I went ahead and performed the merge. (Sometimes answers do have to be changed accordingly, e.g. if the two OPs use different example sentences. If I don't have the time for that, again, I will postpone the merge.)

If you see another question that has been closed as a dupe for months with nobody appealing against it, flag it for mod attention.

  • So there's no hard rule; it's mainly whether or not there is a dispute?
    – Luke_0
    Aug 2, 2012 at 2:27
  • I've been trying to understand what is and isn't a duplicate and hey, presto! I noticed the idea of merging… I don't know exactly what that involves and if it's not the same, I'd like to suggest that when something gets marked a Duplicate, disputed or not, any further postings on the Dupe should be redirected to the Original post. Would that not be useful? Nov 16, 2016 at 0:27

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